The po­lit­i­cal home of Labour lead­ers

Central Leader - - WHAT’S ON - JO MOIR

There’s some­thing in the wa­ter in Mt Al­bert.

The Auck­land city elec­torate has been a nurs­ery for Labour lead­ers for nearly 100 years.

New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern holds the Mt Al­bert seat but its leader ori­gins go all the way back to 1919.

Mt Al­bert had only been around since it was first con­tested at the 1946 elec­tion but it’s one that’s only ever elected Labour MPs.

Jump back to 1919 and a man by the name of Michael Joseph Sav­age won the Auck­land West seat.

The Mt Al­bert elec­torate was carved out of Auck­land West in 1946 and from 1919 to 1940 it was the home of Sav­age, who went on to be­come Prime Min­is­ter of the first Labour gov­ern­ment.

Sav­age died in of­fice trig­ger­ing a by-elec­tion in 1940, which was won by Labour MP Peter Carr, who also died while hold­ing the elec­torate, shortly be­fore the 1946 elec­tion when Mt Al­bert was born.

Sav­age was known as the ar­chi­tect of the coun­try’s wel­fare state and was held up by many as one of New Zealand’s great­est and most re­spected Prime Min­is­ters.

Fast for­ward to 1981 and that was when He­len Clark’s ten­ure be­gan.

Former Prime Min­is­ter. Aunty He­len.

Clark win­ning Mt Al­bert was her ticket to Par­lia­ment and she held the seat right through un­til 2009 when she left to ac­cept a pos- ition with the United Na­tions.

The bound­aries for Mt Al­bert have changed over the years and for one term be­tween 1996 and 1999 it was split up and a chunk of it was re­named Owairaka, which Clark also held.

Her Prime Min­is­ter­ship spanned three terms from 1999 to 2008 when she was beaten by Na­tional’s John Key.

Clark’s de­par­ture in 2009 trig­gered a by-elec­tion in the seat, which was won by David Shearer.

In 2011 Shearer was elected leader of the Labour Party af­ter Goff re­signed.

Any chance of Shearer fol­low- ing in Clark’s foot­steps wasn’t to be how­ever when he an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion less than two years later in 2013.

Ardern won the seat in Fe­bru­ary when Shearer left to head a United Na­tions peace keep­ing mis­sion in South Su­dan.

On March 7 Ardern was pro­moted af­ter Labour veteran An­nette King stood aside.

Last week then-Labour leader An­drew Lit­tle an­nounced he was step­ping down and en­dorsed Ardern to re­place him. Within an hour Ardern had been unan­i­mously voted in as leader along­side her deputy, Kelvin Davis.


Former Labour leader and Prime Min­is­ter of New Zealand, He­len Clark was MP for Mt Al­bert from 1981 to 2009.

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